Memories of childhood; first train journey

My father,Subramanya Bhat, worked in the Indian
Railways from 1958 to 1987 and trains are so much a part
of his life.
So often I have seen his expression when he watches a train
chugging into the platform. There is so much of affection.
He gets three free passes in a year from Indian Railways to go anywhere in India. Railways is like a second home to my parents. Here he writes about how he travelled to Bombay as a small boy to his sister’s house in Bombay.

“ My sister was pressing Appa (father) to send me to Bombay during the   long summer holidays.  Appa was reluctant to send a
small boy like me alone to Bombay. After a year or so
he agreed to send me.  He had some old students working
at Guntakal station.  They assured Appa that they would
help me get into the Bomaby train.

After my annual exams. the summer holidays started.
There was nothing like seat reservation then for the
lowere classes.  I purchased a III class ticket to
Bombay at Hospet station and caught the Meter Gauge
train going to Guntakal.  I got down from the train.
One of Appa’s  students met me and guided me to the
Broad gauge platform to catch the train to Bombay.  He
instructed the porter to help me get into the train.

The train arrived from Madras. It was jam-packed.
The passengers  did not permit the doors to be opened.
The porter with me knew this.  At that time the windows
did not have any bars.  The porter lifted me and pushed
me inside telling the passengers inside that I was only
a boy travelling to Bombay for the first time.  He also
pushed my bag inside.  I had to stand for some time. As
the train moved I was shown a few inches of vacant seat
to sit down.  That’s how my trip to Bombay began.  I ate
some food given to me, watched the train cross the
Tungabhadra river.  Slowly sleep overcame me though I
was only sitting.

It was morning when we reached Poona station.  I
bought some rotis sold by the hawkers on the platform
and had my breakfast.  I wonder if you have ever
travelled by train from Poona to Bombay.  I think it
is one of the most beautiful train journeys in the
world.  After Lonavla, the train starts going down the
ghats passing through many tunnels.  It was my first
experience of going through a tunnel.  Finally, we
reached Dadar station, where I was told to get down
from the train.  My Akka(elder sister) and Bava (brother-in-law)were waiting for me
on the  platform.  They gave a sigh of relief seeing
me.

I was very happy and relieved.  We took a BBCI (now
called Western railway) train and got down at Bombay
Central station.  Their house was quite close to this
station and we quietly walked home.

What a wonderful journey!

For the love of trains

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Word a week photograph challenge

Word a week photograph challenge

ATMOSPHERIC – IT ALSO MEANS Resembling or representing the atmosphere; having or giving the effect of translucence: a painting suffused with a hazy, atmospheric glow.

Reel and real Life Drama

TV serials are very popular in our place and many are faithful followers of at least one or two serials which the feel they just cannot miss. We have so many languages and as many soaps. And when I listen to their stories, there is nothing really different in the story line. Unfortunately most of them thrive on showing all possible negative emotions. Maybe that makes everything more exciting !!

The other day my friend and I were talking about them and about people in general. Actually reel life drama is not really very different from real life drama. The ‘good’ stories are always happening around us. All of us have our own share of troubles and  there are so many who face their problems with courage  and they also inspire others.. Then all those dramas happening in the lives of people everywhere. So many lose control over their words and actions and make lives miserable for others. And life is never what it was. The whole world is a theatre and reel life dramas just dramatize the whole thing. We can dismiss them as just stories, as fiction. We cannot do the same with all that happens around us day in and day out. No wonder it is said that ‘ truth is stranger than fiction’. 

How can we forget or ignore all those political dramas going on in the world of politics? They are really disgusting and the people involved in these dramas are least bothered about what the people of the country think of them.  The saddest part is they are the people who are supposed to rule our country.

I think what makes people fascinating is conflict, it’s drama, it’s the human condition. Nobody wants to watch perfection.      Nicolas Cage

“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” —Will Rogers

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In the photo, the taller person is my father, during his college days, all dressed for a play.

WORD A WEEK PHOTOGRAPH CHALLENGE

WORD A WEEK PHOTOGRAPH CHALLENGE

VIOLET – this violet coloured balsam flower blooms during the rainy season by our hillsides.
“Flowers don’t worry about how the’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.” ~Jim Carrey

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

TREASURE Sitting in our verandah, we can see trees all around us. The colour green is so pleasant and soothing. Sitting there, reading a book and looking out at the trees is a pleasure and a treasure:)
Trees are something to treasure. In so many places trees are being destroyed and concrete jungles are taking their place.

Memories of Childhood ; Quit India Movement, August 9 th , 1942

The British ruled India for a long, long time and the effects of their rule, good and bad, were felt all over the country. We got our freedom in 1947 . My father writes about what happened in his hometown in 1942.

“This was the day which changed the face of
India.  The famous “Quit India” resolution
was passed by the Congress Party led by Mahatma
Gandhiji.  Within 5 years, the British  left India.

  But, to us, residents of Hospet, this day
was  a day of sorrow.  The Municipal High School,
of which my father was the Headmaster had a
wonderful library  It was at its South East corner.
Books of many languages were there.  I was too
young to have read any book from that library.

On a night of August, 1942, we woke up in
the middle of the night and saw a big light
to our west.  The sun had set a long time back.
My father too woke up.  He suddenly started
walking towards the High School. As he came near,
he saw that there some fire coming out of the
school building.  He called a few students and
men who were nearby.  They were amazed to find
that their library was burning.  Immediately,
police were informed.  And soon, they came to
the school with a large number of policemen and
some residents of the town.

They found that the school library was
burning and that there was no way of
stopping it.  Water was far away, as the school
well was on the other side of the school.  As
hundreds of students arrived along with other
men, they formed a line from the well and
brought water to the fire.  It took some time
to stop the fire.  By that time, the
library room, its roof supported by wooden
beams and almirahs carrying books were all burnt.

When we woke up in the morning, we walked
towards the school. We found that the large school-
ground with its hockey, football and cricket
fields was littered with papers from the burnt
books.  At many places, we could not see the ground.
I had never seen my father with such a face. He
was short of weeping.  The picture of my school
ground covered with half-burnt paper can never
leave my mind.

We do not know what the persons who burnt the
books to be read by their children, gained from
their action.  But, we students lost thousands of
books which were the main source of our knowledge.”

1942

     (photos from the internet)

 

WORD A WEEK PHOTOGRAPH CHALLENGE

WORD A WEEK PHOTOGRAPH CHALLENGE

FIGURE – Figure also means
form or shape, as determined by outlines or exterior surfaces: to be round, square, or cubical in figure.
In this photo there are different types of figures; of coconuts, of cashewnuts, of a lady ,of stones, of hammer.

A Giving Heart

Sometimes I think  about what exactly does ‘ generosity ‘ means. I know it means that we are willing to help someone in need, either in kind or in cash. Listening to someone with interest is also being generous. How many  people do really listen? Most of us want to tell our part of the story. If we have enough and more money it is very easy  to give away some of it. Of course we should have the heart and the inclination to do so. The other day someone was saying that giving money was the easiest thing one could do. Everyone needs money and we have this feeling of being very generous. But, I believe that giving away something when we ourselves are in need  of it is much, much more , it  means a giving heart.  

She works the whole day  and she is the sole earning member of the family. Her husband is an alcoholic who works when he needs money for the arrack . She tells me that he gives her some money on those  rare occasions  when he is not drunk. Sometimes she hides the money and  he does not know whether he had ever earned it or if he had poured it down the drain. She takes left over rice or any other leftovers home. And I have always seen her make two packets of the rice. One packet she gives to the sweepers who work by the road side. I see her do this most of the times and all these  thoughts came to  my mind when I saw her give away a packet of cooked rice to an old lady walking by, who was very happy to receive it.  This was true generosity.

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This photo is of a mango tree in almost full bloom by the side of one of our roads. Trees are so generous. They give and give.

“The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber.  The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.”  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert